Monday, September 20, 2010

Rappahannock River Adventure

September 18th, 2010
     We got a late start on Saturday morning, driving the Chinook RV East on I-64, Rt 33 through West Point to Rt 17, and then on smaller roads eastward to Topping, Virginia.
Turning down a dirt road we came to Camp Kekoka on Indian Creek. An all-day music festival was already in progress, but we had come to listen to our neighbor Robbin Thompson play at 3:30.
We strolled down to the dock to look out across the water, searching for Robbin's sailboat "Song Bird". It was nowhere insight, although he had posted on his website that he was looking forward to sailing from his home slip in Jackson Creek near Deltaville to the concert. We wondered if he was still beating north to windward against the strong winds blowing down the Chesapeake Bay.
   We bought hot dogs at a vending stand, and as we stood listening to the music and munching on our summertime luncheon, Robbin came up to say hello. He had slept on his boat and had planned to sail up to Indian Creek, but the 30 knot north winds and 4 foot seas had convinced him that driving his car was a more comfortable option!
We moved our folding chairs closer to the performance stage as Robbin's assigned time got close, and enjoyed a full hour of his songs, including "Out on the Chesapeake", and his best-known and most popular composition "Sweet Virginia Breeze"
   After the concert we drove back across the high bridge spanning the Rappahannock River to Grey's Point Campground for a sunset paddle in the kayaks, and to spend the night.

September 19
   After a leisurely breakfast we packed up and headed north on Rt 3, eventually turning back toward the river and Belle Isle State Park, which preserves over 700 acres of riverfront, marshes, and forest. We put our kayaks in at a sandy bottomed spot on one of the tidal creeks, and explored the marshes for several hours  before heading back to Richmond.
Click here for video
A great way to celebrate the last weekend of summer!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kayaking The Chicahominy

The Chicahominy River flows roughly northwest to southeast, all of it across the almost-flat coastal plain of Virginia known as "Tidewater". Here, when the tide is ebbing rivers flow toward the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, but as the tide turns and begins to rise, the river currents slow, stop, reverse their direction, and for six hours flow upstream. The river meanders its sinuous course across the coastal plain, mostly shallow and spread out, filling the swampy areas along both sides and providing a rich ecosystem that is difficult for humans to develop.  Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes settled along its banks long ago, living in harmony with their surroundings and being supported by the river and marshes. Each tribe still has land along the river.
At its broad mouth, the Chicahominy joins the even wider James River just above Jamestown. Here, on land next to the new Route 5 Bridge, James City County maintains a wonderful park that includes acres of woods, picnic areas, a large grassy field, a boat launch ramp, and lots of camping sites.
As long as you pay attention to whether the tide is flowing in or out, the flat water here is a wonderful, easily accessible place to enjoy a paddle on the river.